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Football

Barcelona, Atletico target top spot in La Liga

Rayo Vallecano vs Eibar

Estadio de Vallecas, Madrid

Friday, 30-11-2018 @11:00 pm

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco

This is a really big game for Rayo Vallecano who are in danger of leaving themselves far too much to do in the second half of this season in La Liga. They are already 6 points from safety and are desperate to cut the gap against an Eibar side that achieved arguably their finest ever win just last weekend.

The Basque minnow beat Real Madrid 3-0 at Ipurua to the delight of their supporters. They could have won by more in the end such was their level of dominance against Santiago Solari’s men who had won 4 games on the bounce prior to that. The result lifted Eibar into the top half and they will be hoping to add more consistency to their performances and results starting off here.

Rayo Vallecano haven’t been quite as bad as a return of 7 points from 13 games suggests. Their last two home games were against Villarreal and Barcelona and they were actually winning both of them heading into the final ten minutes but only ended up with a grand total of one point. They were outclassed at the Mestalla last weekend though and they could desperately do with recording a first home win of the season here.

The last 6 meetings have produced 3 Rayo wins and 2 for Eibar. However Eibar have only lost on 1 of their 4 league visits to Vallecas this century.

Peruvian right-back Luis Advincula is suspended. Gael Kakuta is out injured but Álvaro Medrán is training again and could feature.

Eibar aren’t likely to tinker much with the side that thrashed Real Madrid last weekend. Marko Dmitrovic and Pedro Léon are out injured though with neither expected back before the New Year.

Celta Vigo vs Huesca

Estadio Abanca-Balaidos, Vigo

Saturday, 01-12-2018 @03: 00 pm

Referee: Adrian Cordero Vega

Gustavo Cabral and Hugo Mallo return from bans to bolster Celta’s selection options. Fran Beltran is a doubt though so Jozabed could start in midfield.

Xabier Etxieta and Jorge Pulido should continue for the visitors in defence with Ruben Semedo carrying a knock. Gonzalo Melero remains out.

This Saturday’s early game in La Liga features two of the three sides to have already changed their coaches. Celta Vigo sacked Antonio Mohamed and replaced him with Miguel Cardoso just before the international break. Huesca meanwhile have long since dispensed with Leo Franco but Francisco is still waiting for his first win heading into this one.

With Celta having also lost their first game under Cardoso, the stakes are pretty high here particularly for the coaches. If anything the Galicians put in one of their worst performances of the season under their new boss on Monday at Sociedad. Maxi Gomez was surprisingly only on the bench but came off to score a consolation goal for Celta, although La Real were worthy winners with the result leaving Vigo just 3 points and 3 places above the drop-zone.

Huesca meanwhile put in one of their best displays last weekend and were a bit unfortunate to only draw 2-2 at home to Levante. That has been a bit of a recurring theme, certainly at home for the new boys, who have been creating chances but that elusive second win has evaded them. They were hammered 4-0 by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey in midweek, although they did rest several players.

The last 6 meetings have all come in the Segunda Division and produced two wins each and two draws. The most recent meeting at Balaidos saw Celta win 4-0 in 2011.

Real Valladolid vs Leganes

Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla, Valladolid

Saturday, 01-12-2018 @06: 15 pm

Referee: David Medie Jimenez

Both Real Valladolid and Leganes were strongly tipped for relegation before the season began. Lega were expected to struggle following the departure of their inspirational boss Asier Garitano while Valladolid were seen as short on top flight quality following promotion. Heading into this Saturday’s clash though, there is hope both sides will be able to extend their stay in La Liga.

Leganes moved out of the relegation zone in their most recent game. They were decent value for their 1-0 win over high-flying Alaves at Butarque. They were very direct, with lots of long balls and crosses for target man Guido Carrillo but the former Southampton man was a handful throughout as the Madrid side claimed their third win of the season.

They’d happily trade places with Real Valladolid though. Their opponents are 4 points and 4 places better off but haven’t looked quite as convincing in recent weeks. They’ve not won in 4 matches now and their early season struggle for goals looks to have returned. Valladolid failed to score in any of their 3 league games in November and if that drought extends for much longer, they risk being sucked back into the relegation battle.

Leganes have won all of the last 3 competitive meetings.They won both legs of a Copa del Rey tie between the sides last year.

Kiko Olivas is doubtful with an ankle problem for the hosts. Javi Moyano is still out so Antonito will continue at right-back.

Mikel Vesga should come into midfield after Recio picked up a knock. Otherwise no changes are expected with Leganes set to go 5-3-2 again.

Getafe vs Espanyol

Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Getafe

Saturday, 01-12-2018 @08:30 pm

Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz

This Saturday’s game in La Liga sees high-flying Espanyol hoping to bounce back from a surprise home defeat last time out. They take on a Getafe side that are currently nestled in mid-table but capable of rising into the European positions if they chalk up the three points in this one.

Espanyol have been the bigger story this season. Not a great deal was expected of a side that invariably finishes in mid-table or below but rarely flirts with danger. To see them challenging in the top four was a surprise but they suffered their first big setback of the campaign last weekend. They were beaten 3-1 at home by Girona in the Catalan derby, the first time they’ve dropped points at home all season.

Getafe made something of a fortress out of the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez last term but haven’t been quite so solid in front of their own fans so far this. They were beaten 1-0 by Valencia in their most recent home match and Jose Bordalas will be keen to rectify their home form and this game offers them a decent chance to do that.

It sees two of the division’s least fashionable sides meet. Getafe are the slight favourites with the bookies and they are worthy of that status. When everything settles down, they may fancy they can finish above Espanyol this term, something they managed last season relatively comfortably. Victory here would move them to within a point of the Barcelona club and if they can play like they did last weekend, they stand every chance of getting it.

The last 6 meetings between these clubs have all produced home wins. Getafe were 1-0 winners in this fixture last term despite having a man sent off.

Getafe’s Bruno is available again and he should slot into the back four with Leandro Cabrera suspended here. Jorge Molina and Angel should lead the line again in a 4-4-2.

Sergio Garcia has a hamstring injury and is out here. Pablo Piatti and Leo Baptistao set to start on the flanks having not featured as often as expected this term.

Real Madrid vs Valencia

Santiago Bernabue, Madrid

Saturday, 01-12-2018 @10:45 pm

Referee: Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez

It has been another eventful week for Real Madrid with a humiliating league defeat and considerably more impressive European away win the backdrop for this Saturday’s game. They should get another stern examination here from a Valencia side that has found a bit of form at last and would move above Los Blancos were they to claim maximum points at the Bernabeu.

To say Santiago Solari’s first game as permanent boss of Real Madrid was a disaster would be a huge understatement. They were second best in pretty much every department against Eibar, losing 3-0 to the Basque minnows and needing Thibaut Courtois to keep the score down with some late saves. However the response to that major setback was a good one as Real Madrid won 2-0 at Roma to win their Champions League group with a game to spare.

It was a different story for Valencia, who exited the Champions League with Marouane Fellaini’s late goal at Old Trafford preventing a decisive final day showdown between Los Che and Man United at the Mestalla. Valencia were beaten 1-0 by Juventus in their match but will drop into the Europa League and they’ve no reason not to fancy their chances in that competition.

Things are looking brighter for Marcelino’s men in La Liga too now. They’ve put back-to-back wins on the board and were easy 3-0 victors over Rayo Vallecano last weekend. That result would have given them real confidence as the goals hadn’t been flowing prior to that but they do have more than enough attacking talent to suggest that, that is something that will change over the coming months.

Santi Mina started the season as their 4th choice forward but he has really jumped to the front of the pecking order over the past month. The 22 year old is on a real hot streak in front of goal with 6 goals in his last 6 appearances for the club. He should lead the line again here and backing Santi Mina to score anytime could be worth a punt.

Real were 4-1 winners at the Mestalla in the most recent meeting in January. However they’d only won 2 of the previous 8 meetings. All of the last 11 games between these clubs have seen both teams score. 3 of the last 5 meetings at the Bernabeu have ended 2-2.

Alvaro Odriozola is out injured so Dani Carvajal is certain to start at right-back for Solari’s side. Casemiro is still a doubt so Dani Ceballos or Marcos Llorente should fill in, with Isco seemingly out of favour.

Daniel Wass looks set to continue at right-back. Rodrigo is a minor doubt but should continue in attack with in-form Santi Mina.

Real Betis vs Real Sociedad

Estadio Benito Villamarin, Sevilla

Sunday, 02-12-2018 @02:00 pm

Referee: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez

*Details to follow shortly

Girona vs Atletico Madrid

Estadi Municipal de Montilivi, Girona

Sunday, 02-12-2018 @06:15 pm

Referee: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea

Girona avoided defeat in their two games against Atletico Madrid in their debut season in La Liga and they will be hoping for a repeat here. They take excellent form into this Sunday’s game and would only be a point behind Atleti were they to chalk up maximum points. Atleti though are targeting top spot and victory would take them there, temporarily at least.

It’s difficult to know how Diego Simeone will view his side’s domestic season so far. From one perspective they are just 2 points off the top and in a position to mount a serious title challenge. However he may also feel as though Atleti have missed a chance to truly take advantage of the poor starts of both Barcelona and Real Madrid, who have both been dropping far more points than would have been expected.

Girona boss Eusebio meanwhile will be delighted with how things are going. His side were surprise 3-1 winners in a Catalan derby at Espanyol last weekend to extend their unbeaten streak to 6 games. They’ve ridden their luck at times and have needed some inspired goalkeeping from Bono to get them out of trouble but the same could be said of Atleti at times with Jan Oblak enjoying another very solid campaign.

He had almost nothing to last weekend though in the 1-1 draw with Barcelona in a game where both sides were very cautious but if last season’s fixture here is anything to go by, he could be a busier man at Montilivi on Sunday. Girona had Atleti on the ropes for long periods in a game that ended up 2-2 and will fancy they can get a result again here.

Atletico Madrid really haven’t been convincing travellers this term. They’ve won just 1 of their 6 road games in La Liga and only 7 teams have picked up fewer away points than them. That record alone suggests they are very short for the win here particularly given the likes of Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez and Diego Costa are all injury doubts.

Girona’s unbeaten streak also suggests they are capable of getting something from the game. They’ve done pretty well against the fancied teams this year, drawing at Barcelona and beating Valencia. Memories of last season’s home win over Real Madrid are also pretty fresh and their 3-4-3 system certainly posed plenty of problems for Atleti last term so backing Girona Double Chance could be worth a punt.

Backing Cristhian Stuani to score anytime also looks like a tempting bet. The Uruguayan is having another fantastic season and is the first player in La Liga to reach double figures with his 10 goals coming from just 9 starts.

Both meetings last term produced score draws. The sides hadn’t previously met in the 21st Century.

Girona are missing both left-backs here after Carles Planas picked up an injury last time out. Marc Muniesa should fill in there while Portu is also a doubt.

Diego Godin remains an injury concern meaning Lucas should partner Stefan Savic at the back again. Diego Costa is also doubtful so Nikola Kalinic may lead the line.

Barcelona vs Villareal

Camp Nou, Barcelona

Sunday, 02-12-2018 @08:30 pm

Referee: Jose Luis Munuera Montero

*Details to follow shortly

Deportivo Alaves vs Sevilla

Estadio de Mendizorroza, Vitoria-Gasteiz  

Sunday, 02-12-2018 @10:45 pm

Referee: Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez

*Details to follow shortly

Levante vs Athletic Bilbao

Estadio Ciudad de, Valencia

Monday, 03-12-2018 @11:00 pm 

Referee: Santiago Jaime Latre

The Monday night game in La Liga comes from Valencia where Athletic Bilbao are in town to take on Levante. The bookies are struggling to decide upon a favourite here which may be of surprise to some given Levante are not only holding home advantage but are currently 9 places better off than their opponents. There is though surely more to come from Eduardo Berizzo’s Athletic.

The Basque giants haven’t won since the opening day in La Liga but they were dealt a real morale boost in midweek. Berizzo opted to field a very strong team in the Copa del Rey and he was rewarded as Athletic hammered Huesca 4-0 with Aritz Aduriz netting twice. The veteran striker is yet to score in La Liga this term and will turn 38 in February but should keep his place here with Athletic unlikely to alter much having finally stumbled upon a winning formula.

As for Levante, they’ve been a real mixed bag this season with impressive away wins against the likes of Real Madrid and Real Betis as well as some heavy defeats including a 6-2 thrashing at home to Sevilla. They currently find themselves in 9th place but are without a win in 4 games in all competitions now and a relatively poor average of 1.17 points per home game partly explains why the bookies don’t fancy them here.

They are a side that is most comfortable on the break but has been left exposed whenever they’ve tried to play more attacking football at home. This promises to be a pretty good game as Athletic will come targeting all three points as they seek to end their winless streak in the league which stretches back to the opening day.

The stats certainly suggest this has the potential to serve up a few goals. A huge 83% of Levante home games this season have produced goals at each end while 83% of Athletic Bilbao away games have done likewise. The Basques have only kept one clean sheet in La Liga so far under Berizzo and you wouldn’t fancy them to improve on that here with Levante having scored in all but one of their league games this term.

Athletic do have an excellent recent record against Levante though and will fancy they can have some joy in the final third, emulating rivals Real Sociedad who fired in three late goals to win here in the most recent league match at the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia. Overall backing Both Teams to Score looks like the way to go here.

Athletic Bilbao have won 4 of the last 6 meetings overall, losing just once. Both meetings last season produced away wins with both teams scoring.

BET ON ALL THESE GAMES AND MANY MORE @Bunga Bet

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